I recently helped a client and her siblings wrap up their father’s financial and legal affairs after he passed away late last year. We had a conversation last week that I have been thinking about off and on ever since. She told me how difficult it had been while her father was alive to discuss his estate planning with him. It probably had to do with the feelings we all have about dealing with the prospect of our own death. We always figure that we have more time. My client’s father thought he had more time, but he didn’t. Whenever she brought up his will and trust he would always find creative ways to change the subject.
In this client’s case, knowing that her father had actually set up an estate plan, including a revocable trust, was not good enough. It would have been much easier to administer her father’s estate if she knew basic information about his assets and where she could look to find out that information. The administration of her father’s trust and estate was not really any easier just because she knew that his estate plan had been done.
So the first question for you, dear reader, is: Have you talked to your parents about whether or not they have their estate plan in order? And more importantly, do you have any idea what information you are going to need in order to administer their estate?